Attorneys need to keep many tools at the ready. We must be sweet and gentle when necessary, but still know when to take an opponent to the ropes and go for the body shot. Attorneys have to be aware that sometimes, it pays to go on the offensive. But it never pays to jab at opposing counsel. Even when you’re being subtle or snarky in your comments, judges (and their staff) notice. It may feel good, but it never makes you look good.
For example, I saw two attorneys arguing in front of a judge recently. It was a pretty simple preliminary objection. The responding attorney opened by saying, somewhat obnoxiously, “Your honor, whether opposing counsel believes there was sufficient service is irrelevant. It only matters whether the Court finds that there is sufficient service.” Yeah. Obviously.